Red opened her eyes and broke the meditative trance.
Her grandmother was nearby; at the sight of Red's distress, the old woman's brows crinkled together. "What happened?" she asked.
"I heard a song," Red confessed. "There was some tremendous, terrible battle--and I saw..." She wrinkled her nose. "Something... horrible. A monster, clad in blood, floating above a shattered battlefield..."
"No use in worrying until it comes to pass," Wytch said. "Did you see anything else?"
"I was..." Red blushed. "Singing."
"...singing?" An eyebrow shot up high.
"Yes. I do not know why. At the time, it seemed incredibly important."
"Perhaps it was," Wytch said. And then the phone started to ring.
A bright orange 1970 Plymouth Road Runner was smashed up against the side of a tree, a steady column of smoke rising out from its engine block. Mulligan sat behind the wheel, a streak of blood matting down his hair.
In the backseat was Aunt Sylvia and an unconscious Paladin. The former was looking over the latter, nearly hyperventilating with panic.
"What--what in God's holy name just happened?" she asked, struggling for breath. "Is he still following us?"
"Think I lost him," Mulligan said. He glanced back through the rearview window. "Paladin okay?"
"He's breathing," Aunt Sylvia said. "That man--that terrible man--what was he?"
"Rockstar," Mulligan said. "Class 2. Serious business."
"Aren't--aren't members of the Society supposed to show up? Help you against something like that?"
"Yes," Mulligan said, and then he scowled. "Yes, they fucking are."
And then he noticed that his phone was ringing.
The rubble that had once been the front of Woot's house smoked and smoldered. Woot was laid out in front of it, bloody and bruised, unconscious.
Two figures stood above him. One machine, the other human.
"Tech-Head," Miss Noble said. "Go gather up his family. We're going to need them."
"AFFIRMATIVE. I HAVE ALWAYS DESIRED A FAMILY OF MY OWN."
Miss Noble made a face. Tech-Head skittered off; a short time later, she noticed a steady ringing on the ground.
A cell phone had fallen out of Woot's pocket, and was now steadily thrumming with a signal.
She brought her boot down atop it, crushing the plastic with a loud snrkt. Then she seized Woot by his collar and threw him over her shoulder.
"You weren't supposed to kill him," the boy's voice said.
The tattoo'd girl snorted, standing over Brick's cooling corpse. Her fist was soaked in blood, her eyes burning with fire. "If I'd known he'd break that easy, I wouldn't have punched him so hard."
"We need to get back to base. Get ready for phase two."
"Whatever. You can stop floating, now," she said, and she looked to the sky.
Philip Darden descended from above, landing in front of her. "Are you always this much of a bitch?"
"Always," Hex said, and then she grinned.
As they walked away, a phone started to ring inside Brick's pocket. It would continue for some time.
Bonesaw hunched over the still-squirming man, several blade-like extensions emerging from her fists.
"So we're clear," she said. "You don't peddle your shit here. Not on my streets. Not on my turf."
"Whatever you say, Miss," the man said, his voice quivering. Bonesaw lifted her foot off his chest and let him get to his feet; as he ran, she shot a small boney barb after him. It hit him square in the backside, illiciting a yelp; despite herself, she giggled.
Then her phone started to ring. The special one.
She pulled it out and flipped it open. "What."
"Hey, Bonesaw," Sue said on the other side. "We need your help."